Civilization 4 lead designer Soren Johnson has announced the formation of Mohawk Games, an independent development studio "dedicated to building core strategy games."
Johnson, along with co-founder and former Civ 4 art director Dorian Newcomb, were financed by the Stardock Strategic Investment Fund and Stardock's Brad Wardell will serve as the company's president.
Mohawk's "core philosophies" include ongoing community involvement, early access programs, and extensive mod support.
“Games cannot grow in a vacuum, without the oxygen of player feedback," CEO Soren Johnson on the company's official website. "Indeed, communities often understand games better than the designers themselves. Mohawk puts gameplay first.
"Our goal is to make games that will be played for years, based on elegant, replayable systems that are not limited by finite content creation. Our development process emphasizes rapid iteration above all else, requiring our games to be playable as soon as possible so that we have time to find the fun.
“We are living in the age of the independent game studio – never before have the development tools been so powerful, the distribution channels so accessible, and open development so valuable. Indeed, independent developers can now do what the big publishers can’t or won’t do. We can take risks on original mechanics and unusual ideas, ones which would never justify budgets that start with seven figures. We can sell a game once, for a fair price, instead of alienating our audience with vertiginous business models.
"We can work directly with our audience, learning from their experiences and trying to match their dreams."
The Baltimore-based studio is currently recruiting and its first title, codenamed Mars, which runs on Oxide Games’ Nitrous engine, is in development.